Was Dr Seuss around when we were little? I mean I know he was alive, but had his books and, for want of a better word, his brand, make it across to this side of the Atlantic? I don’t remember reading Dr Seuss books as a child, and I’m fairly certain we didn’t own one; his writing style is so very distinctive I think it would linger in the mind.
And I’m afraid to say that Kitty doesn’t own any Dr Seuss books either; this one is Elma’s. A christening present from Kitty’s godfather, one of our oldest and dearest friends, and a window wide open into a whole new world. It is also purple which right now is very important to Kitty.
I love “Oh, the Places You’ll Go!”. I have loved it from the first time I read it, it perfectly combines my love of complex tongue twisting language with a penchant for a little nonsense verse.
There’s something a little special in the patter of the verse too; the first few times I read it I would come unstuck when the couplets turned into triplets, or the rhymes just stopped and veered off in another direction but the more I read, the more the relationship between the rhythm and the story came to light.
The poem is a story about finding your way in the world; and just as our path through life comes with unexpected twists and turns, abrupt jolts and changes from the calm and easy to the fraught and bumpy, so too does the verse. It’s very cleverly done, I think it becomes a third dimension to the story, together with the illustrations and the words themselves.
Kitty loves the silliness of some of the rhymes, the purple cover, and looking at the illustrations of this weird and wonderful parallel universe, and Elma I suspect would be happy as long as she gets to cuddle in under my chin, lay her head on my chest and enjoy the words rolling over her.
So really I think I might be reading this one mostly for me. But right now it’s probably me that needs it most of all.
It’s the tenet of the story: about success and failure – the places you’ll go, except when you don’t. About trusting the brains in your head and the feet in your shoes to find the right path, to pick yourself up when things turn out to be not what you thought they were, and above all to keep striving for the great heights.
Parenting seems like such a minefield of decision at times; full of questions to which I’ve not found the answers and probably a whole load more questions that I haven’t even discovered yet, all wrapped up in trying to work out what would be the best choice for our little family. So a little Dr Seuss on a quiet afternoon is rather soothing to a bamboozled mind.
I can only hope that the ability to bounce back rubs off as much as the guarantee of success!
Do go and say hi to Lucy and Kelle and see what they’ve been reading, and if you’ve seen something you think we all ought to be reading, please let us know!